At Last: Tesla’s Full Self Driving Beta V12

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It’s better! It’s smoother and requires fewer interventions! See details below.

I’m pretty well positioned to comment on FSD Beta V12.3 because I have been driving nearly every day 99% of the time with FSD Beta for about two years in my Tesla Model 3 with FSD hardware version 3.

I got FSD Beta V12.3 on March 24, 2024, almost 6 months after Elon Musk promised FSD V12 by the end of 2023. Musk also promised that the Beta tag would be removed with V12 — it was not. I’ve been seeing reports about V12 from the lucky few users since the beginning of the year.

The Tesla V12 software update is introducing what Musk has been calling ‘end-to-end neural nets’. The biggest difference with previous FSD updates is that the vehicle’s controls are now be handled by neural nets rather than being coded by programmers. Also, for the first time, city and country driving are handled by the same system.

FSD Beta screen — traffic lights visualized in St George, Utah, on March 24, 2024. Photo by Fritz Hasler.

What’s my experience with using Tesla Full Self Driving Beta V12.3 for a few days?

As advertised, you need to pull down the right stalk only once, not twice, to initialize FSD Beta V12.3.

1. You might find this trivial, but: traffic lights and stop signs are now visualized on the route map with FSD Beta 12.3 (see picture above). Previously, they would only appear on your visualization screen as you approached an intersection. Now, with traffic lights and stop signs also visualized on the route map, it’s easier to locate yourself on the map and more easily note important intersections on your route. Apple Maps and Apple CarPlay have been doing this for years. Tesla finally just caught up.

2. Roundabouts/rotaries are now handled perfectly by V12.3. I’ve traversed rotaries now 10–15 times and V12.3 handled them perfectly every time. Before that, the most recent download of V11 would sometimes stop your car in the middle of a rotary.

3. V12.3 is smoother: Lane change initiated with the left (turn) stalk is smoother. V12 does a better job of early and smooth change of lane in preparation for a turn.

4. V12.3 navigated me perfectly out of a big Walmart parking lot. (No frantic jerking of the steering wheel. I’ll be watching to see if it sometimes gets you stuck in a dead end.)

5. V12.3 is still too slow at stop signs. A human driver (even a good one) might roll slowly through the sign, and if visibility is good, immediately accelerate briskly. V12 comes to a full stop, pauses for some seconds while it looks for cross traffic, and only then accelerates briskly. Meanwhile, a driver behind you (and you if you are in a hurry) would be annoyed. I keep my right foot lightly resting on the accelerator. I add pressure when I want the car to start sooner. V12.3 will still make the turn (if needed) for me.

6. V12.3 Doesn’t allow you to set a speed of more than 2 or 3 mph above the speed limit. A really great feature of the most recent FSD Beta V11 was that you could set your speed at 5, 10, or even more mph over the speed limit. This was particularly useful in rural areas where the speed limit retrieved by the NAV was too low.

With V12, you have the option of setting any speed you wish, but the software determines a safe speed depending on local road and traffic conditions. In practical terms, you can set your speed at 5, 10, or 15 mph over the speed limit. However, for city driving, the software limits your speed to 2 or 3 mph over the speed limit.

If you don’t select the option for the software to determine speed limit: The choices for relative or fixed overage settings are greyed out and not available. Bottom line: you can’t set a speed over more than 2 or 3 mph above the speed limit for city driving. However, for freeway driving, you can set the over-speed-limit differential any way you wish.

I would expect this limitation of FSD Beta V12.3 to be removed in one of the next updates of the software.

7. V12.3 more reliably stops just the right distance from stop signs (V11 versions would sometimes stop your car 20 to 30 ft in front of a stop sign).

8. Hurrah! V12.3 slows you down just the right amount for speed bumps. Snow Canyon State Park is just 4 miles from our house in Saint George, Utah. There are 6 speed bumps in the park. V12.3 slowed me down just the right amount going up and back: 12 speed bumps total.

When I get back to Northern Utah, I will see if it slows down for the dips they use to put the storm sewers above the streets. If you hit these too fast, they are worse than speed bumps.

9. The V12.3 download gave me a fresh set of 5 forced disengagements before the software would be temporarily suspended.

10. So far with V12.3: Not so many of those inscrutable lane changes on multi-lane roads wandering from lane to lane for no apparent reason on freeways (I hope we won’t have one), and no more moving into the left lane only a few hundred yards before your route calls for a right turn.

11. So far with V12.3: I don’t have to tug on the steering wheel as much. There’s a camera below the mirror watching your face, so the car knows if you are looking at the road.

12. I’ll be watching to see if V12 sometimes puts me in a turn lane inconsistent with my route.

13. Phantom braking: I did get a slight amount of phantom slowing at slow speeds. I think V12.3 is interpreting cracks or discoloration in the pavement as speed bumps and giving you a slight amount of slowing as result. I will be watching for phantom braking at high speeds, but I haven’t observed it yet.

I’ll be watching to see if these observations hold up with more extensive testing.

Something that still drives me crazy

Sudden jerking stops when trying to move your car a few feet in the driveway or on the boat ramp. You can stop these so-called rollaway prevention stops by fastening your seat belt.

Further Notes: Every new Tesla will come with one month of FSD Beta. You can extend this for $200/month or $12,000 for a permanent subscription. For some, FSD Beta will give you important features like steering perfectly not only on superhighways and roads with painted lines but also on city streets and country roads with no painted lines. Others will be waiting until you can read a book or curl up in the back seat.

Referral Program: If you are buying a new Tesla, Tesla has reactivated its referral program. If you find any of my articles helpful to you, you can use my referral link: https://ts.la/arthur73734 (be sure to use it when you make your order). If you are buying a new Tesla and use my link, you’ll receive $1000 off the purchase price of a Model S or X, or you will get $500 off the price of a Model 3 or Y. You will also get 3 months of “Full Self Driving.”


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Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler, PhD, former leader of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization & Analysis Laboratory (creator of this iconic image), and avid CleanTechnica reader. Also: Research Meteorologist (Emeritus) at NASA GSFC, Adjunct Professor at Viterbo University On-Line Studies, PSIA L2 Certified Alpine Ski Instructor at Brighton Utah Ski School.

Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler has 117 posts and counting. See all posts by Arthur Frederick (Fritz) Hasler